One community fighting to get FDOT to include them in plans for a noise barrier wall

Community is Fighting to Get Noise Barrier Wall

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WWSB) - The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is moving forward with building a noise barrier wall to drown out the loud traffic from the I-75.

Many communities pick up the noise and are happy a wall is being built, but one community says they are being left out and it’s not fair.

Homeowners and a County Commissioner gathered in the University Place community Tuesday morning. All of them say FDOT should reconsider and include the community in their plans because they are faced with loud traffic noise daily.

“You can’t even carry on a conversation at the height of the rush hour traffic in the morning or at night," says resident Susan Lerman.

One of the community’s board of supervisors, Tami Cashi, says for some residents it’s like living on top of the highway.

FDOT is building a noise barrier wall just north of the University Place community, which will spare communities like Willowbrook, but the wall won’t extend to University Place and it picks up again past the community.

“The wall is coming down to University Place, skipping University Place and carrying on. That makes zero sense," says Lerman.

Residents say a noise study was done back in 2011 to determine where the wall should go up, but they say the study is outdated and doesn’t reflect the increase in traffic and noise in 2019.

“On our area by I-75 there’s a berm that was built by our original developer. That absorbs some of the sound but that absorption of sound in 2011 is so far away from now because at that time I-75 was not as highly traveled as it is now," says Lerman.

Manatee County Commissioner Vanessa Baugh is well aware of the issue and is standing with this community to try to find a resolution.

“I did send a letter to the secretary, the local secretary of FDOT District 1. He responded almost immediately and said he is having staff looking at it," says Baugh.

Still, many homeowners are their wits’ end when it comes to the constant noise.

“I’ve had at least three people come up to me and say they are putting their house up for sale because they feel the noise is too much," says Cashi.

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